Apartment 53

Apartment 53 was my first apartment in NYC where I lived on my own, and thus, where I really think of my life as a Manhattan woman beginning. I've always been fascinated by NYC apartments. Giant buildings filled with people, each with their own story. Windows everywhere. And I always wonder: what's behind them? What do people see when they look in from the outside? What is the real story of the person who lives behind that glass? This is my blog. A real story from a Manhattan apartment.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

That's Why Darling, It's Regrettable...

I've been thinking a lot lately about regrets. A waste of time, perhaps, but I'll spin it as a learning process. Thinking about all of those things I wish I'd never done, or things I actually had done... To think if I had only known then what I know now. To think... I find myself consumed with this burden. Furious with myself for these mistakes I never knew I was making. And now, in many circumstances, they're too late to fix. People I should have held longer, others I should have loved less. Talents I should have clung to, minutia I should have let go of. Faces I should have memorized and others I should have slapped... I'm in my early thirties now. Maybe I'm having a late quarter-life crisis, but I know we all have regrets. But these are some of mine in no particular order:

1. I regret giving up dancing. If I hadn't, I'd have a much nicer body and I wouldn't need a couple of cocktails in order to feel comfortable enough to get my groove on.

2. I regret not sticking up to the bitches who were mean to me in the fifth grade. They were assholes and everyone knew it. What was the worst that could happen? They'd have been meaner? Impossible.

3. I regret not wearing my retainers longer even though my orthodontist told me I could stop. Now my teeth have shifted and what was the point in suffering through two years of braces?

4. I regret not calling my grandfather on the phone every day. He was the only person in my whole life who loved me without judgement and now he's gone and I'll never hear him call me his "Special Girl" again. Unless I watch my bat mitzvah video.

5. I regret not pursuing my dreams.

6. I regret giving up singing. Singing was the one thing that made me really, truly, wholly, and completely happy. Vocal chords are muscles. And mine have reached atrophy.

7. I regret not talking to the boy from high school who sent me a love letter in the mail over Memorial Day weekend our junior year. He was my friend and after I got the letter I ignored him because I was too immature to face him and tell him that I didn't feel the same way. It took a lot of courage for him to send me that note and I was a jerk for not giving him the credit he deserved.

8. I regret not wearing sunscreen every day. Now my once-beautiful alabaster skin is covered with ugly freckles because I wanted the momentary satisfaction of a suntan.

9. I regret ever trying cigarettes. Now I love them so much I don't know how I'll ever be able to quit.

10. I regret quitting the guitar. This goes with the singing. It sure would be fun to jam alone in my apartment. Or pick up some extra cash on the weekends playing at at kids' birthday parties or in the Union Square subway station.

11. I regret not visiting my Dad more when he was in the hospital or calling him more when he was alive. He was the smartest person I ever knew and I would do anything to have his brilliant guidance and unconditional love in my life. Now he's gone forever and he'll never know how much I loved him because I spent so much time in my life being angry at him.

12. I regret spending so much time being angry.

13. I regret not having lived abroad when I graduated from college. I could have waited tables in Paris and had an experience that I'll never be able to have now.

14. I regret ever having worn pantyhose.

15. I regret saying "yes" when he proposed when deep in my heart I knew we weren't meant for each other. In fairness, it was a gorgeous ring.

16. I sorta regret giving the ring back. It was really gorgeous. But it was the right thing to do. But seriously. It was stunning.

17. I regret not playing more with my sister when she was little. I thought I was too grown-up for her little girl games. I was. But she was my little sister and I should have played whatever she wanted to play. Even if it was with barbies.

18. I regret spending so much time loving men who didn't deserve my love.

19. I regret buying this couch. It's too big for my apartment.

20. I regret not saving more money when I was younger. But I sure did have a fun social life.

21. I regret ever straightening my hair. Now my curls will never be the same.

22. I regret not writing more when I was unemployed. I was so miserable all I did when I wasn't job-hunting was watch Oprah and sleep late. How often do we have that much time on our hands and can still collect money from the government?

23. I regret not spending more time volunteering. This, I can change.

24. I regret that I didn't insist that my real father maintain a relationship with me. I know being a father wasn't his strong suit, but I realize now that I was the stronger one, even though I was the child. Now I think it's too late.

25. I regret having a lot of serious conversations while intoxicated. Mostly because I don't remember all of the details.

26. I regret that I didn't spend more time traveling after college. I was so eager to get on the corporate ladder that I didn't realize that I was going to miss out on real life once I started to climb.

27. I regret that I stopped reading and speaking French. Maybe I can pick it up again, but after 13 years of studying, I was almost fluent and now that will be hard to accomplish.

28. I regret saying something mean about one of my friends in camp when I was 13. I am not a mean person and she didn't deserve it. I was being a childish bitch.

29. I regret not sending Mrs. Epstein a thank-you note after she bought me all of those cupcakes when I was switching schools in the sixth grade.

30. I regret losing a year of friendship with my friend Amy after college. We made terrible roommates but amazing friends. I wish I had had the courage to just say that to her at the time instead of letting a year pass before we finally told each other how much we missed having one another during that year.

31. I regret working so hard at things that I didn't care much about when I could have been working hard at things for which I felt passion.

32. I regret not helping my mom out more when my dad was sick. She really needed the help and I just couldn't handle it. But I should have sucked it up.

33. I regret watching every horror movie I've ever seen. I don't know why I torture myself.

34. I regret losing touch with people who were good to me, who loved me, who enriched my life. It is hard to find people like that when you become an adult.

35. I regret not studying harder in college. My parents paid good money for that school and while my grades were decent, I took some really interesting classes and did the bare minimum to do ok. And now there's a lot of shit that I don't know SHIT about.

36. I regret not spending more time with Art before he died. He was one of the greatest influences in my professional life and one of the smartest men who ever lived. I wish I had heard more of his stories, gotten more of his advice, and told him more often how much I appreciated him.

37. I regret my prom dress. (But that's normal, right?)

38. I regret relying on Cliff's Notes when I should have been analyzing the book more carefully.

39. I regret throwing away photo albums and old love letters because my ex didn't want me to have them. I should have thrown away my ex instead.

40. I regret ever having cried at work.

41. I regret not playing tennis in college. That was a really dumb decision. My serve would seriously kick ass right now if I had.

42. I regret spending so much time thinking my grandmother was a pain in the ass when really she was just afraid.

43. I regret not helping my mom take better care of the dog. Eventually we had to get rid of him and I think it broke my mother's heart.

44. I regret leaving my mom's antique sewing scissors outside in the rain when I was six.

45. I regret every time I ever sped in a car. It's stupid and dangerous.

46. I regret not taking that reporter job in West Virginia. That would've been a helluva thing, wouldn't it?

47. I regret not asking for more money at my job when I knew I deserved it.

48. I regret kissing more than half the men I ever kissed. Only because they were bad kissers and didn't deserve to be kissing me. What a waste of time.

49. I regret not asserting myself in one way or another when I wasn't being treated respectfully.

50. I regret talking so much when I should have been listening more.

51. I regret not taking better advantage of beautiful days.

52. I regret not spending more time with my sister when she lived in New York.

53. I regret not spending more time with my nieces before they left the city. They're getting so big, so quickly.

54. I regret spending my 22nd birthday writing that term paper for my boyfriend in college. He was a real jerk.

55. I regret not learning Spanish when I dated an Argentinian for two years.

56. I regret being so self-conscious of my body when I was a teenager. I really wasn't that fat.

57. I regret forgetting to rsvp to my friend's bridal shower. I got busy. It slipped my mind. And now she doesn't want to be my friend anymore.

58. I regret accepting a drink from a stranger at a bar.

59. I regret not seeing my parents as people instead of parents, until now.

60. I regret hiring a girl to work for me because I got tired of looking for someone when she wasn't right for the job. Ultimately she got fired and I feel terrible about that.

61. I regret spending so much money on a dress I wore once and will probably never wear again.

62. I regret not finding a rent-controlled apartment when I first moved to New York and staying in it.

63. I regret moving to New York as early as I did.

64. I regret losing touch with my little sister from my sorority. She was one of the greatest people I'd ever met.

65. I regret not taking more pictures.

66. I regret having some pictures of certain occasions I'd like to forget.

67. I regret being kind of rude to my Australian friend who came to visit me in Boston. He was just trying to see the states, but man did he overstay his welcome.

68. I regret not decorating my apartment when I first moved in. Now I just want to move again so I don't have to deal with it.

69. I regret subscribing to so many magazines I don't have time to read.

70. I regret not making more time to read.

71. I regret not calling my paternal grandparents more often. They died when I was young and I have wonderful memories of them. I wish I had more.

72. I regret buying a beautiful wedding dress that I am now just going to have to put on Ebay.

73. I regret not going to The Blue Hole when I was in Belize.

74. I regret that I never got a chance to say "goodbye" to my former future in-laws.

75. I regret that I didn't get in to a steady exercise routine when I moved to the city. I really hate working out and now going to the gym is about as fun as going to the dentist.

76. I regret not having flossed more often.

77. I regret not saying something more meaningful to my friend, Jeremy, the night that he died. I didn't know it would be the last time we would speak.

78. I regret that my first live concert was Huey Lewis and the News.

79. I also regret that it was with my Temple Youth Group.

80. I regret that I never learned how to take care of plants. Plants inspire me and when I have them in my apartment, they die. Not so inspiring.

81. I regret slamming the door so many times when I was a teenager. Maybe if I had tried speaking to my parents calmly they would have heard me.

82. I regret not giving people more compliments in my youth. People deserve compliments.

83. I regret giving compliments I didn't mean just because I was sucking up to people who didn't deserve them.

84. I regret a vacation I took this past March. My life will never be the same again.

85. I regret not taking enough vacations earlier in life.

86. I regret spending so much time in high heels. Now my feet are ruined forever.

87. I regret not ever learning Outlook. I will be a filofax girl until I die.

88. I regret ever having worn blue nailpolish. Trendy? Maybe. Tacky? Yes.

89. I regret caring so much when I was younger about what everybody thought of me. I was pretty great. I should have just been myself. All the time.

90. I regret having once lived in a six-floor walk-up with no air conditioning. That pretty much blew.

91. I regret selling all of my furniture that I loved because my ex hated it. Now I'll never see it again and my life is strangely emptier because of it.

92. I regret not trying certain things because I was too afraid that I would fail. The only real failure is in never trying at all.

93. I regret losing touch with my cousins. My family is too small for us to be estranged.

94. I regret offering to pick up the check on so many dates. Men should be gentlemen. It's part of the territory. They pay, we get our periods. Fair is fair.

95. I regret forgetting all the words to Les Miserables. I used to be able to sing the entire show.

96. I regret spending so much time filling my brain with useless information. I mean, is Les Miserables paying me to know all of the words to the show? Don't think so.

97. I regret ever finding the game Free Cell. It's more addictive than crack.

98. I regret not investing in my retirement account earlier in life.

99. I regret not getting in on the ground floor at Microsoft, Amazon, or Google. That would've been pretty awesome.

100. I regret that I didn't pay closer attention during computer class or maybe I would have gotten in on the ground floor at Microsoft, Amazon, or Google. Instead I got a C- in computers.

101. I regret having so many regrets.

I once read a quote that said "If you're going to do something tonight that you'll regret in the morning, then sleep late."

Wake me up in a year.


Blogger Amy said...

This is fantastic! Every single one made me laugh or cry or say "right on!" More importantly, I feel blessed that I recognized every story behind each of them -- whats the point of making mistakes if your friends arent right there making them with you?

I regret that you may have no idea how much more you have to say "I am so glad I did that/I am that" about...

I regret that year too. And btw - your skin is still truly outstanding.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous gila said...

p.s. anytime you want to harmonize indigo girls, i'm in!

11:28 AM  
Anonymous BSLA said...

These aren't regrets, they are the lessons, the travails of your life. Embrace them! You wouldn't be you without them, and let's be honest: you wouldn't be a writer without them.

(Make that same list again, but replace "I regret" with "I'm so glad I..." Seriously.)

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